Dante and Virgil in Union Square
Dimensions: 27 × 51 3/4 in. (68.6 × 131.4 cm)
frame: 30 1/2 x 55 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. (77.5 x 141 x 4.4 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of the Friends of Art, 1971
About: Isabel Bishop devoted her career to depicting the ordinary people of New York City, especially those in her neighborhood around Union Square and 14th Street. However, her inclusion of Dante, in the red cloak, and Virgil, with a laurel wreath on his head, makes this work exceptional.
According to the artist, she was inspired by her reading of a “down-to-earth” and “unpoetical” translation of Dante’s Inferno, a version that dwelled on the mundane details of the underworld. The artist connected the hordes of ordinary souls that confront Dante and Virgil in hell with the hordes of human beings that daily passed through Union Square at rush hour.
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